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10 January 2007


Mostly with my computer. Actually, no, not with my computer. With the stuff they make us install on our computers.

In my last post, I mentioned as an aside that the Internet in my room wasn't working. Now, the Internet's working fine, but my computer isn't. It's been this way since Sunday. Allow me to explain.

You see, in order to connect to Pitt's network, you need to install the stuff on a CD they give you: mostly antivirus, spam-killers, etc. But one nice feature is that they change the Windows Update (WU) settings. Rather than letting people (a) manually update their computer, or (b) be automatically notified of new updates but manually download and install them, PittNet sets the computer to (c) automatically download and install the updates, which literally gives the user no choice as to what to install when. Which sucks.

But what's even more frustrating is the fact that the installation of PittNet "greys out" this option so that you can't change it back after the fact. Lovely.

Anywho, mine is a new computer, which didn't come with much software, so I happened to be downloading Mozilla Firefox on Saturday, when lo and behold, WU saw that there were updates that hadn't been installed. So it downloaded them, and forced their installation on me upon the next reboot.

If you know much about computers, you know that installing too much in one reboot is bad for your computer.

So now every time I'd start my computer, I'd get an error message... the "always-on-top" kind that block your view of what you're doing unless you move them out of the way. But whether I clicked "OK" or "Cancel," the program causing the error (which is a very important program in the functionality of a Windows machine) would close. My CPU usage rate would then go up to 99%, and I could do essentially nothing. My computer was probably running Windows XP slower than an old 386 would. Which is scary, because the computer's less than a month old.

After a couple not-so-helpful calls to Pitt's Technology Help Desk, I called Corey. He came over Sunday afternoon, and noticed that as long as you kept the error messages open, everything still worked. So we moved them out of the way, and did some research. My understanding of the problem is that one of the updates is somehow a corrupt file (like it wasn't downloading completely), so we were able to fix the problem easily, mostly by just moving the corrupt file so the computer couldn't find it. So my computer worked all Sunday evening. But that didn't stop WU.

While I was doing my work Sunday evening, it noticed it didn't have the update anymore, so it downloaded it, and bang!, it quit working Monday morning.

So the issue isn't fixing the computer; we've done that once before. It's keeping the computer from re-breaking itself.

I sent another email to Corey, and he responded with something else that might work. I hope I can get a spare moment this afternoon to try it. Meanwhile, my frustrations have been calmed by the excess of birthday fudge in my room. Thanks, mom!

Random tangent 1: There can be more than one random tangent if I say so. More like if I feel like it.

Random tangent 2: Pitt men's basketball is back up to #7. And ESPN2's College GameDay program will be broadcast from the Petersen Events Center starting at 11:00 ET on Saturday 13 January. So between them filming stuff for that, a women's game, and a men's game that day, it'll be fun... but quite exhausting.

Random tangent 3: And the Lord said, "Let there be snow."


Anonymous said...

Fudge is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy...

actually, that's beer. But I think the same can be said for fudge, especially the stuff you have in your room.

Tim Parenti said...

At the very least, it's proof that mom loves me and wants me to be happy.

Which means that if you add up all the mothers and happy people in the world, mom's fudge is just one small part of the blanket statement you made above. But I love my part...

Anonymous said...

But my chance encounter with such fudge is proof that God loves ME too ;)

Tim Parenti said...


Anonymous said...

if you dare ... you should be able to go into the Windows Registry Editor (run regedit) and find the bit to flip to allow you to regain control of the Windows Update control.

Tim Parenti said...

Actually, Corey sent me another possible fix that so far has been working well. It involves running gpedit.msc rather than regedit... so I was a little more comfortable making a tiny little switch I knew I'd be able to reverse if necessary.

We'll see if it holds up...

Lexi Elizabeth said...

that's sad. i don't understand computers, but i know that's bad.

Tim Parenti said...

Addendum posted 12 January 2007

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